Right-hander Brian Gordon, the latest Yankees’ overnight sensation, could have been pitching for the Rangers instead of against them on Thursday afternoon.
The Rangers expressed interest in signing Gordon after their 12-4 loss to the Yankees in the series opener Tuesday, according to the pitcher’s agent, David Schwartz.
But Gordon, 32, already had decided to opt out of his minor-league deal with the Phillies and sign with the Yankees.
“(The Rangers) had been interested from the beginning, but didn’t think they had a lot of room,” Schwartz said.
“On Tuesday, when their pitching staff was getting beat up, they got more interested. But by then, we had come to a verbal agreement – he was going to New York.”
Gordon, 32, had made only three previous major-league appearances – for the Rangers in Sept. 2008. But he allowed only two runs in 5 1/3 innings Thursday, and the Yankees beat the Rangers, 3-2, in 12 innings.
Besides Gordon's prior connection with the Rangers, his mother once worked as an office manager for the Astros’ Triple A Round Rock (Tex.) affiliate, the team that Nolan Ryan owned before he became the Rangers’ club president.
Ryan advised Gordon in his conversion from an outfielder to a pitcher in ’07.
“Brian has a lot of history with Texas, and vice versa,” Schwartz said. “Nolan is there. There was always a potential fit. They were a little late in the draw.”
Gordon was a 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA for the Phillies’ Triple A affiliate. Any team could have triggered his opt-out by bringing him to the majors.
The Yankees jumped.
“Brian Cashman deserves a ton of credit,” Schwartz said, referring to the Yankees’ general manager.
“I talked to a number of teams over the last several days. A number of teams could have used Brian a lot more than the Yankees. But people didn’t have updated reports, current video. They were reluctant to pull the trigger.
“People talk about the Yankees and their big budget. This was as low-budget and low-risk as you can get. (Gordon) has (a minor-league option) left. If it didn’t work out, you could just send him to the minors.”
Gordon will make his second start for the Yankees on Tuesday in Cincinnati.
— Ken Rosenthal